We caught up with guitarist for The Draft, Tod Rockhill before their recent Manchester show to find out how it's all going for The Draft and what it's like to be the only member who wasn't in Hot Water Music.

R13: So you must be really glad to be back in the freezing cold UK then?
T: Yes definitely, it's a little cold as we're from Florida
R13: And you would arrive the week that it snows! So weather aside how have you found the UK audiences compared to elsewhere?
T: I love it here, there's always been that group right up front & it seems like in the UK especially there are more people that care, more people that come up to you & say "great job".
R13: Do you make an effort to go out & meet fans afterwards in the bar?
T: Well I do, I don't know about the other guys! I like to go out & say hi to everyone & see who I can bum a cigarette from.

R13: So for anyone who hasn't heard The Draft can you describe what kind of music you play?
T: Someone asked me the other day & I think it's American rock & roll, more so than just punk. There is that in it but I think there's just as much in common with Tom Petty & John Mellancamp than there is with Black Flag. We really like the classic American rock bands.

R13: You've done a fair few support tours recently & some bands even prefer being the support band, is that the case for you or are you looking forward to going out as headliners?
T: We've just got very good support tours, Bouncing Souls it's hard to say no to, Samiam as well but we definitely want to headline whenever it comes.
R13: It must be nice playing when you know it's your crowd though?
T: Yeah we've done one headline tour of the States and that was really good but also playing with your friends who are in bigger bands is great.
R13: Plus you get to finish early!
T: Yeah you get to hang out and watch the show or smoke weed backstage! Haha

R13: Last year you released your debut album & all the reviews were very positive, were you pleased with the response it got?
T: It's better than I expected, I mean I didn't even know what to expect but it's better! I was worried that people would hate it, especially Hot Water fans but I feel that more people who weren't Hot Water fans really like it. A lot of people come up to me & say "I've never been a Hot Water fan but I really like The Draft" and that's more important to me.
R13: With the other three being from Hot Water Music did you make a conscious decision to sound different to that?
T: It was inevitable that some of it would sound similar but I think there was a bit of a conscious effort to try & do something a little less left field.
R13: A lot of the comments I've read pick up on the fact that it's a lot more melodic, not mainstream but more simplified song structures.
T: Yeah & I think out of the two singers Chris is more tuneful.

R13: You've been around in bands for a long time now so does The Draft feel like starting over, something fresh?
T: Yeah, for the other guys most of the people who were into Hot Water are aware of The Draft now and that's cool but in a selfish way I think "hey you know I used to be in another band too!" I've been to the UK before with other bands so in a way I think I'm jealous.
R13: How do you think what you're doing now compares to the other bands you've been in before?
T: The other bands were definitely more of a struggle!
R13: Do you find that because you've been around a lot longer that you don't take yourselves as seriously as people these days? Obviously as musicians you do but you don't have that pressure on you thinking that you have to 'make it'?
T: We don't take ourselves seriously at all! I think it's kinda silly that I get to come over here for free and play what I feel is fairly simple mediocre music.
R13: Mediocre?
T: No I don't think it's mediocre
R13: You mean not technically difficult?
T: Yeah exactly and if people keep wanting to pay for me to come over here then great!

R13: You've said you don't think there'll be another album this year, is that still the case?
T: It probably won't come out this year but you never know.
R13: Have you got material for it already?
T: We haven't started writing anything at all! We're pretty heavily touring right into the summer and maybe we'll start writing then so by the time it gets recorded it will probably be early 2008. I'd like to start writing it now and get it recorded to have it out as soon as possible.

R13: Can we expect to see you at any UK festivals this summer?
T: We want to really badly, we want to come and play & the idea is to come & play some summer festivals here & Germany. We'll see but there's nothing definite yet so if you're out there reading this then come on!

R13: Do you still get excited about releasing records and touring or is it like "Oh God another tour"?
T: I get more excited about releasing records than touring but I still love it and it's the only thing I really know how to do. For me though I recently got married and bought a house so it's hard now that I have that and a family. Long tours definitely have become hard, last time we cam for a month and a half and that might not sound like a long time to some people but it's a long time for me. If it's a short tour then I love getting out of town but recording's really what I love to do, putting it out there be it a seven inch single, a CD or whatever.

R13: Florida doesn't have as big a reputation over here as say New York or L.A for bands but is there a good scene down there?
T: Especially in Gainesville, it's a small college town & there have been times in my life where I've had a band practice every night but with a different band! Why not? I don't have anything else to do. It is very incestuous there as everyone knows each other.

R13: Do you think it's a disadvantage, or at least harder for bands from Florida to get noticed?
T: I think it can be but you get noticed eventually, you might just have to work a little harder. I don't really pay much attention to what's going on outside my area, we have such a varied group of people that making it there is good enough for me. That's all I ever wanted to do, play music, have a show, make some money, get some free beers you know?
R13: Sounds good to me!
T: That's all I want.